A Review of the Erik Balkey CD
"while the paint dries"

"while the paint dries"
by Erik Balkey

Copyright 2004
Hudson Harding Music
P.O. Box 22417
Philadelphia, PA 19110
http://www.ErikBalkey.com and
email: info@EricBalkey.com

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 12/04
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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For a guy who looks like he could scatter a group of Hell's Angels with one forceful glare, Erik Balkey, the musician, is actually a gentle-voiced singer-songwriter. And one of considerable talent as he has produced a release here with nary a weak cut.

The two songs that struck me the most are "God's Poet Now," Balkey's tribute to the late Dave Carter, and "Someone To Call."

The former nicely uses elements of nature in a descriptive reaction to Carter's death: "...flesh and bone will break, like the highest bough..." and "...a candle died on the earth that night, there's one more star in a diamond sky..." Someone would do us all a great favor by combining the various Carter tribute songs on one release--what a treat that would be!

The latter is Balkey-written but seems like a very familiar song--Townes Van Zandt, for some reason, comes to mind--and depicts the little things that keep us going day-to-day throughout a lifetime.

A song of thankfulness, "Give Love, Amen," like "God's Poet Now," also twines human elements with those of nature. Depicting robbing hearts instead of banks, "Like Billy The Kid" describes the effect of an ended relationship with "...holding on to the past is like holding your breath..." Another cut,"Time To Go," also addresses a failed coupling. "We're Only Friends" looks at a pair swirling amidst comradeship and something more intimate.

"Baseball In My Blood" will give Chuck Brodsky competition for the title of top baseball-song-writing folkie. Staying with the familiar, however lean, or searching the for greener grass over the hill is the crux of "Livin' In Lesserville."

Two versions of "Silent Night" are presented but neither is the ol' holiday chestnut. One has electric guitar backing with somewhat distorted vocals--the second is a hidden cut, a 'straight' version.' The song contains the moral and philosophical question so applicable to today's headlines: "how much bad must we do to do good?"

"How Does This Poem End" has an engaging, catchy rhythm and uses the song title as a stand-in for Balkey's life journey as a artist. "Can I Make A Home" addresses the issue of settling down versus living a profession requiring life on the road.

Like with "Someone To Call," "Chase My Blues Away" describes the small things that keep us putting one foot in front of the other, or as someone once put it: keep on keeping on.

Balkey's songs are almost like lullabyes, with his soothing voice, intimate delivery and introspective lyrics. It's not often that a CD contains no filler--songs that don't measure up to an artists's usual quality and seem to "pad" a release. That isn't the case here.

Liner notes: easily readable but lyrics are missing as is the genesis of each song.

Balkey, on vocals and guitar, is backed by Laurie MacAllister, Tom Prasada-Rao, Cary Cooper, Brian Gundersdorf, Katie Graybeal and Denise O'Brien on vocals; Jim Henry on pedal steel guitar and electric guitar; and Pat Klink on vocals and bass.

Track List:

All songs by Erik Balkey, unless otherwise noted.

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